Siegfried Szarfstein RAMLER (aka Ram) [1912-1993]

Submitted by brian edgar on Wed, 12/04/2013 - 20:22
Siegfried Szarfstein
Alias / nickname
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Birthplace (country)

Siegfried Szarfstein Ramler qualified as a doctor in at the University of Palermo (Italy) in July 1934 and was added to the Hong Kong list of authorised medical practitioners in September 1939. He worked in Kowloon's Nathan Road at first, but by the time of the Japanese attack had moved to the Exchange Building in Des Voeux Road.

Probably as a German or Austrian citizen (perhaps a Jewish refugee) he was not interned during the occupation. He was arrested by the Japanese on May 16, 1944 for reasons not currently known and held at Central Police Station for 27 days, providing medical attention to both prisoners and Gendarmes. He gave evidence to a War Crimes about the use of torture at the Station.

He stayed in Hong Kong after the war and became a popular and successful practitioner, and in 1947 he invited Solomon Bard, whom he'd known before the war, to return to Hong Kong to become his partner.


Hong Kong Government Gazette, September 15, 1939

Solomon Bard, Light and Shade, 2009, 134, 136

China Mail, July 10, 1947, page 2

Note: It's possible his name should be written Siegfried Szarfstein-Ramler

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Dr. Ramler was my uncle by marriage..he was very kind to me. Dr. Siegfried Szarfstein Ramler (he did not like his first names) and was called Ram, or Sigi. He loved to sail.. he had a boat.. and to look at Chinese art, and from time to time he would go into a friend’s shop and make a careful purchase.

Born March 21 1912 in Poland..the boundaries moved around was Buczacz. And died April 25 1995 in Vancouver Canada.

He arrived in Hong Kong early 1939 with his mother Lotty.(she is buried in the Jewish cemetery Happy Valley). And was an authorised medical practitioner in HK in 1939 in Hong Hong..he had a very successful and popular medical practice and after the war asked Dr. Solomon Bard to join him in the practice.  This was 1947..I had lunch with Monica Bard ..Dr. Bard's daughter in London a few months ago.

Sigi Ramler was a member of the Oheal Leah Synagogue in was my uncle Emile and father Leo Landau and my grandfather Aaron Landau also  that time..there were only about 40 members so you can see that everyone knew each other..There are more than 5,000 now.

Sigi Ramler was able to leave Europe some how in 1939 with his mother..his sister managed to get to Israel. The rest of his family, his father etc were murdered like so many.  Sigi did qualify as a doctor in 1934 in south Italy..

He was free to come and go in HK during the Japanese occupation because he had an Austrian passport..He treated both the Japanese and the prisoners..

But in May 16, 1944 he was arrested by the Japanese and went to Stanley jail where Emile, Rosie Landau were as well as my grandfather Aaron, and Nancy Yip..  Emile was brutally tortured ..and that may have been the reason that he never really recovered both physically and mentally..Ram looked after him for the last 23 years of his life.

Ram, Emile and Rosie lived together …I remember them in McDonnell Road (Lotty must have been there too..but she died in 1958 and I have only vague memories of her).

My parents also lived in Macdonnel road a few doors away.

Dr. Ramler left Hong Kong with Rosie and Emile Landau around 1963 and came to Sevenoaks Kent..and after Emile died (, they all came back to HK for a few months,so Emile could die in Hong Kong in 1967). then  Ram married Rosie.

Lives continue to weave their stories..I hope this has been is part of the HK story..the Hong Kong people.

Best wishes

In the first and second years of the Japanese Occupation of Hong Kong, we were already starting to suffer from malnutrition, as food was getting scarce. This affected us in various ways. In those days, parents believed that corporal punishment was OK for kids, and probably good for their character. My mother was quite small and her method of punishing us was to grab us by the hair and give it a yank. Painful but effective. However, one day (possibly in late 1942), she grabbed me by the hair, and, to her horror, a fistful of my hair just came away in her hand. There was a noticeable bald patch on my head, where the hair had been. She rushed me to see Dr Ramler. Alas, there was little that he could prescribe, as medicines and drugs were just about non-existent for civilians in Hong Kong by then. He then gave her precise instructions to fix the problem. She had to shave my head completely, with scissors and razor. Then my hair was to be allowed to grow back to about half an inch. Another total shave, followed by hair regrowth... and, once again, a final close shave. Three complete shaves altogether over a period of several months. Although malnutrition in Hong Kong kept getting worse, year by year, during the Occupation, my hair no longer had a tendency to fall out of my head. Today, at the age of 82, when I go for a haircut, the barbers often compliment me on having such thick and healthy hair. Thank you, Dr Ramler!

Hi - I was born in HK (1949) and lived there until Feb 1959, went to Peak School etc.  - I guess that will be enough to qualify me as 'HK people'. Dr Ramler was our family doctor, although  I recall my mother (Nancy)  mentioning that a Dr Bard (a Dr Sophie Bard ? - was she Dr Solomon Bard's wife? ) had delivered me and my younger brother (1953)  in St Paul's Hospital in downtown Victoria.

At first we lived Kowloon-side on Tai Po Rd and then moved  back HK side to Lugard Rd in 1954  .I recall getting shots from Dr Ramler - he operated on a slow 5 second count (21..22..23..24 ...25 - and also I recall visiting the 'go-down' belonging to the co my father worked for - a French company(Optorg) Dr Ramler was somehow inv`olved and/or had received scuba gear through Optorg which was promoting a documentary film - it was Cousteau's first major documentary: Silent World.  Either that or 'Dr Ram' had participated in the making of the footage.  It made a huge impression on me, age 7 - that 'our' doctor was part of this !


Peter G van der Voort